Following a visit to the California cryobank, you are finally about to bring home a sibling for your child or children. Your excitement about the new baby may be massive, but it’s important to consider the mixed feelings and emotions of your older ones as you prepare for the new addition
It can be hard for older children to adjust to the reality of a new sibling. If you only have one child, they have to prepare to share your currently undivided attention with a second kid around the house. If you have multiple children already, the baby will have to adjust to having a younger sibling, and the eldest may feel burdened by the added responsibility of being the older sibling to multiple children. Other changes, like having to share a room, may also be jarring to older siblings. These transitions are worth considering as you prepare for the new baby.
HOW TO PREPARE
Make sure you tell your kids about the new addition with plenty of time so there is no shock or surprise when the new baby comes home. Answer questions they may have about the process, and let them know what changes will be made: where the baby will sleep, where the baby’s toys, clothes, furniture and other items will be kept in your house, and who will take care of the baby during the day and at night. Ensuring everyone in your household is on the same page when it comes to these questions will settle anxieties and reduce conflict when the baby comes home.
WHEN THE BABY COMES
Be in communication with your older children, explaining to them when you are in labor, at the hospital, and who will care for them while you are having the baby. Give older kids the opportunity to visit you in the maternity ward, hold their new sibling, and assist in feeding, dressing or changing him or her. This involvement will help them feel invested in the new baby. Other ideas include giving older siblings small presents “from” the new baby, helping them feel included and appreciated.
Overall, this is an exciting transition in your family’s life, and your older kids will soon be thrilled to have a new sibling to play with, share with, and love. But in the meantime, consider what challenges may arise, how to explain changes around the house, and the best ways to make sure your older kids feel included in the hullabaloo of a new sibling.